An early morning fog bound departure saw Sunderland Ladies make a cross country trip to play top of the table Everton Ladies. Better weather greeted our arrival as bright sunshine, and calm conditions made for ideal football conditions.
Both teams began the game brightly on a good playing surface, and the opening exchanges were keenly contested. Everton enjoyed some good possession in the final third but the Sunderland defence looked comfortable whenever Everton attacked.
It was the visitors who opened the scoring as captain Nicola Devine embarked on an attack down the Sunderland left. A clever interchange of passes with Abby Holmes created a shooting opportunity for Devine to shoot across the Everton keeper and the ball was dispatched to give Sunderland the lead.
Everton were soon back on level terms as some hesitant play allowed the Everton midfield time and space and Katie Luther was beaten by a good shot from 25 yards. Sunderland rallied however and they regained the lead when another Devine run down the left saw her cross into the Everton penalty area where Jane Riddell was on hand to finish from inside 6 yards.
Just before the interval Sunderland went further ahead when the hard working Jordan Atkinson's run down the right flank saw another dangerous ball delivered into the box. This time it was Abby Holmes who showed great composure to secure possession and round the keeper to give Sunderland a 3-1 lead at the interval.
HT Everton Res 1-3 Sunderland Res
The second half saw Sunderland weather an early onslaught from Everton as they fought to get back into the game but the visitors rearguard held firm as they restricted the home side to long range efforts on Katie Luther's goal.
Sunderland now significantly increased their work rate as they worked hard to deny Everton any space and time on the ball, and they began to dominate the middle of the park. Some good work by Abby Holmes saw her win possession and slide a pass between the Everton defence for Jordan Atkinson. With a defender to beat Atkinson side stopped a challenge a delivered a powerful finish from 15 yards to cap a hard working performance.
The goal put the game beyond Everton's reach but they gained a consolation in the final minute when a long ball out of defence was not intercepted and the out rushing Luther saw her attempted clearance rebound of the Everton attacker leaving a simple tap in to leave the final score 4-2 to Sunderland.
This result saw Sunderland go joint top of the league with Everton, who still lead the table on goal difference.
FT Everton Res 2-4 Sunderland Res
Report - Trevor Atkinson
Sunderland Reserves travelled to Everton on Sunday and came back to Wearside with a victory and sit level on points at the top of the league.